Terrorism and Moral Panic in America Essay

1650 Words7 Pages
Societies will always have problems that cause some sort of reaction from individuals who believe that their social stability is being endangered. There have been a number of moral panics which have captivated society in terror and more often than not, owing to unfamiliarity. This essay will discuss the perception of a moral panic and will look at the case of the September 11th Terrorist attack against the United States of America, which triggered a colossal conflict of morality within modern day society. This essay will also analyse terrorism as a perceived deviance, the role of the moral entrepreneur and folk devil, in order to develop a level of understanding to the causes of this particular moral panic and its effects on society.

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Moral panics do not occur spontaneously, they are a result of an intricate interplay of behaviours and responses (Muzzatti & Rothe, 2004: 329). The media and moral entrepreneurs often tend to stir up the general public in defining deviant behaviour (Becker, 1963: 147). Subsequently, President Bush can be labelled as a moral entrepreneur, owing to his actions and ideals after the 9/11 attack.

Moral entrepreneurs are individuals, like President Bush, who construct deviant behaviour based on observation. Thus, moral entrepreneurs deem social problems serious enough to warrant an immediate action plan. The main objective of moral entrepreneurship is to persuade society to buy into policies necessary for justice. After 9/11, President Bush’s administration and the media started an initiative to save the “American identity” and in so doing corrupt serious thoughts about the Middle East and Islam. Therefore, based on the “perceived threat”, security was heightened and media coverage was extensive in propagation. By increasing the fear factor amongst citizens, President Bush received extensive power as well as legitimacy to come up with a solution to solve America’s crisis.

Every so often the moral panic passes over and is ancient history at other times it has more severe and long lasting ramification and might create changes such as those in legal
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